According to recent reports, a rare sea snake was found in the Gulf of Oman and Persian Gulf by a team of scientists. The animal was quickly identified as a venomous viviparous sea snake species which usually lived at a 400 km distance from where it was found.
However, this first encounter with such a snake occurred back in 2013 and 2014 when biologists discovered an adult Günther’s sea snake around the Gulf of Oman.
This species of sea snake lives in the western part of Indian Subcontinent and Malay peninsula. The name comes from Albert Günther, a British zoologist born in Germany, who discovered the snake in 1864.
The snake can be easily distinguished from other species of sea snake because compared with its thick body, it has an unusual head which is quite small. That is why scientists refer to it as Güunther’s small or narrow-headed sea snake. Also, due to its small head, its scientific name is Microcephalophis cantoris.
According to the team, this creature is 44-inch long, has a yellow color and an unusual shape that resembles a fang. Also, they added that the specimen is ‘deposited and available at the Zoological Museum of Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Kerman province, Iran.’
In addition, this species is viviparous, therefore it doesn’t lay eggs but gives birth to living young which grow inside the female’s body. Nowadays, there are around 60 known species of snakes which are venomous and live in ocean waters only.
Also, this species is not just rare but highly endangered because it is on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Most venomous sea snake species can be found in subtropical and tropical Indo-Pacific waters, but after the latest discovery, nine specimens are currently monitored in the water of Gulf of Oman and Persian Gulf.
Biologists will continue their research to understand more about this rare species and what made these snakes venture so far away from their usual habitat.
This study is important because it will help scientists develop new strategies to protect not just this narrow head sea snake but many other endangered species which are threatened by excessive fishing and other factors.
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